How Adam Ashley-Cooper got 100 test caps is unlikely to be repeated

Adam Ashley-Cooper reaching 100 Test caps for the Wallabies deserved far more reflection time after the match than it got and got Zero coverage this week….  so I made this video:

The media storm that arose after Bledisloe 3 saw Adam Ashley-Cooper reaching 100 caps set aside which does not do this justice. Well I think it is time to rectify that and I will give a reason for every 10 caps he has in doing so.

Here are my Top 10 reasons why Adam Ashley-Cooper’s 100 tests is unique in my view:

  1. He is the ONLY Wallaby to EVER do this as a Utility player (this may never happen again).
  2. He plays ALL the outside backs well (i.e. put 11-15 on his back is all the prep you need.)
  3. He can break a tackle (Got a good fend and Step)
  4. He can make a tackle (often Try Savers in the corner and sometimes two at once)
  5. He Scores Tries (he knows how to find the line.)
  6. He is never in the news for the wrong reasons. No Ego (on 2005 debut, didn’t even have a number on his back!)
  7. He is respected by fans and fellow players alike (just see messages below).
  8. He rarely seems to get injured (but ironically he usually fills positions where others did before him.)
  9. He is up for Spring Tour and Rugby World Cup which are upon us at a time when Australian Rugby is in desperate need (again) for player to stand up. I have no doubt he will answer the call (again).
  10. He is still playing well for us and not heading overseas like so many others. If any team is playing well you will usually find him in the side front and centre. He is consistent and consistently good whenever and where ever he plays (Man of Match in Waratah’s Super 15 title)

He delivers all this without being high maintenance or drawing negative attention on himself or rugby as a code.

Remember he has been playing through an extended period that is arguably the worst in Australian Rugby history from a management and marketing perspective yet he is never been in the news in a negative way.

Given all the “off field” low points, it is all the more reason why we MUST make time to celebrate this rugby high point.

Yes, it is hard to see another player achieve 100 tests in quite the same way as this again. Outside backs and centres agains the top tier regularly.

You just have to take a look at the other Wallabies AAC now joins on 100+ caps to get some perspective. 100+ test cap Wallabies as of now are:

  1. George Gregan (139 caps at half-back)
  2. Nathan Sharpe (116 caps at Lock)
  3. George Smith (111* caps at Loose forward)
  4. Stephen Larkham (102 caps at Fly-Half)
  5. David Campese (101 on the wing).
  6. Adam Ashley-Cooper (100* plays anywhere from 11-15)

* denotes still playing as at time of writing

Consider this, those above AAC with more caps (for now at least) all have predominantly played one specialised role or function. Centre, Full Back and Wing have distinct roles to play.

If that was not enough, consider the names that DON’T have 100 caps but are unquestionably outstanding players.

For starters, check out this tweet from Matt Giteau (left stranded on 92 tests himself and voted best player in France) shows again how highly AAC is regarded by those that have played with him.

AAC played highly visible positions where you are easily exposed to even the untrained rugby eye if you mess up.

It makes me smile that while we often question whether some of our first selection choices are “up to” playing wing, full back or centre…. we never seem to doubt a decision to put AAC in to fill a gap when they get injured. The word “Solid” springs to mind.

Name a bad game from memory in last 3 years? I scoured the internet and the only critic of AAC I could find was AAC himself on why he didn’t do more in 2011… Go figure.

While it is fair to say that sportspeople don’t do what they do to be role models, the fact is kids look up to them and it is nice when one like AAC comes along as you know that he is not going to make a tool of himself out in public.

In a time where sensationalism away from the paddock seems to capture attention and dominate reporting  it appears to work against solid on field players like AAC.

It is probably why friendly reminders such as this tweet from Morgan Turinui are required to prompt us to acknowledge it where other rugby nations would be all over it without being asked… (Oh and I understand FFS I believe stands for For Friendship Sake)

To help those not so familiar with Twitter here are some ideas to Tweet to Adam to congratulate him and wish him the best before they head off on the plane:

Tweetables:

Now I cannot control what Network TV or Radio stations cover so I have resorted to putting this together as a sign that true Rugby fans out here recognise what has been achieved by AAC. I said it on the day and it was then that I decided to write this post:

If you need more then check out this Pinterest Board I collated for this post.

Acknowledgements: Images and the Footage in my video came from a compilation of Fox Rugby and is embedded here on a Non commercial basis.

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